Article: Lefteris Anestis
Translation: Paraskevi Govari
While we grow older, the conceptual frame that we have developed about love affairs is shaken. Nowadays, the attainment of an ideal relationship seems unfeasible or rather a “science fiction scenario” for some of us. What has played an important role in all this is the difficulty that some couples face in creating a healthy commitment without the malaise of possessiveness, which is conveyed by the extremely high rates of infidelity between partners. Infidelity is defined as the violation of the unspoken and agreed rules that a couple has propounded, which have to do with the emotional and physical contact with people other than the couple, and it can have disastrous consequences on the subconscious of the person who gets cheated on and on the future of the relationship.
Generally, both men and women seem to cheat on their partners motivated by diverse incentives. Women who commit adultery report significantly greater dissatisfaction with their marriage compared to men. In men’s case, the most common reason for infidelity is incited to sexual motives and issues related to the enforcement of their masculinity and the compliance with dated sociopolitical norms that exculpate and make male infidelity foreseeable. Accordingly, in older times, research data showed that men cheat incidentally (one night stand), while women prefer to start extramarital relationships that involve an emotional bond of some degree. Indeed, an interesting discovery is the fact that men get angry and interpret sexual infidelity more negatively than the emotional one, while the opposite is true for women.
Today, however, things seem to have changed. Even though male infidelity is still motivated mostly by the need for diversity in sexual intercourse, there are not few men that resort to other women as a reaction to a damaged marriage. On the other hand, by having greater sexual liberation compared to the past and by, now, working outside the house, women have increased the percentages of infidelity to their husbands, while with the use of broader definitions of infidelity they surpassed the corresponding percentages of men. Although these percentages are high and unsurprising, adultery constitutes the salient factor for divorces, but also for homicide between couples. Men who are victims of adultery regard divorce as the only option more than women do, since the latter forgive sexual betrayal more easily.
In addition, in the era of social networking, “temptations” have increased dramatically. The potentiality of finding sexual partners through the internet is inconceivable and “decriminalizes” adultery even more, especially in the cases of sexting (chatting with sexual content and with the exchange of nude photos) or cybersex (virtual internet sex with the use of a camera). Such actions are traumatizing for the deceived partner, who experiences feelings of unworthiness, low self-esteem, anger, and finds it hard to trust again. In the various social networks, people contact individuals who demonstrate a certain profile, through their photographs and posts, and try to be liked. These individuals are being consciously or unconsciously compared with the partner and the ease of communication creates a fertile ground for their approach and the possibility of sexual coitus.
Finally, the research on the issue of infidelity in homosexual couples hasn’t cleared the subject. However, it is evident that sexual “exclusivity” is considered more important to heterosexual men and women, even though the discovered data are sometimes conflicting, since there is a large quota of homosexual men and women who appreciate monogamy. Nevertheless, adultery in between homosexual men demonstrates high rates (higher than those of homosexual women), a fact which is construed by the sex (homosexual men cheat more than women do) and the ease of finding sexual partners.
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